Playing is the main activity of childhood. A need that pushes us, transforms us, makes us grow. Children have felt and feel that play is pleasure. Children's play and toys are for them joy, fun, having fun. Sometimes, we see children bored or disappointed among a mountain of toys and we think, how is it possible? For the game to exist, the desire must be encouraged, but not the desire to "possess", which is necessarily fleeting, but the desire to obtain, achieve, overcome and imagine.
Waiting for what you want motivates the desire to play and enjoy. And it also motivates the desire to play to be able to share the game with others. Two or three children… even without toys, they find a way to play. And of course, to motivate the pleasure of playing in children, we have to grow our own pleasure in watching them play, our unconditional commitment to their game.
No game or toy established in itself guarantees the game and, therefore, total and absolute enjoyment. Toys are the mediators between the Game and the child, stimulating their ability to play. A child enjoys a game or a toy to the extent that it guarantees that entry into the world of GAME in capital letters.
The toy should entertain, excite, express feelings and emotions, imagine, create and also destroy, overcome challenges, be surprised, share ... Sometimes, playing will be accompanied by laughter and laughter, but we can also see them with serious and highly concentrated faces and despite the effort, they will want to repeat the game, try again. Playing and enjoying, in this sense, cannot be separated.
The toy must be appropriate to the interests, tastes and age of the children. Each age is defined by their abilities and skills. It must stimulate the game, awaken the desire to play, feel, look, touch and know, facilitating children's development in all its areas: motor, cognitive, emotional, social, and, of course, they must promote positive values. But also that it is of quality, that is, that it meets the objective that is proposed. That it does not break in the clumsy hands of a child ... And of course, that it is safe and complies with all European Safety Regulations.
And if we do not talk about a specific toy, but from the repertoire of suitable toys, We must take into account two more variables: that they are varied (allowing an integral development) and in their proper measure, since the excess of toys, far from increasing the desire to play, diminishes and impoverishes them.
Playing is a right protected by the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, adopted by the United Nations in 1959 and subsequently ratified in the 1989 Convention. That means that it is understood which is absolutely necessary for the healthy and proper development of childrenlet them play. We must guarantee that possibility and opportunity to play, since otherwise the growth of our future generations could be seriously harmed.
The game and the toys are witnesses of every moment of history. Technical advances, moral values, tastes and prevailing fashion are reflected in the toys. And we live in a time when technology and the Internet is part of our lives ... how could it not be present in our children's games?
The videogames they can and should coexist perfectly with traditional toys. Chosen and used with criteria and simultaneously with the rest of the types of necessary and age-specific games, they are ideal for developing personal, affective and social skills; psychomotor skills such as movement coordination, orientation and spatial organization, aim, precision, speed ... and also cognitive abilities and capacities such as curiosity, visual and auditory perception, organizational capacity, etc.
In this type of game it is very important, once again, that we inform ourselves and that we put in the hands of our children the games and platforms appropriate for their age. That, in turn, we encourage the combination of this type of game with others, and also that we share the game with them because it will be the way in which, from the knowledge and involvement in the game experience, we can really put ourselves in their place and agree on limits and rules in this regard.
- Social educator and director of Marinva
- Co-author of 'The pleasure of playing. Learn and have fun playing with your children '
- Pedagogical advisor of the Crecer Jugando Foundation
- President of the International Association for the Right of Boys and Girls to Play
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